BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Death Note (vol. 1) by Tsugumi Ohba, art by Takeshi Obata, translated by Tetsuichiro Miyaki

Death Note 1As my children get more tech-savvy which means I become more of a Luddite, their favorite exasperated phrase seems to be “Maaaah-ahm, you just do this!” So in one of my son’s ‘just‘ moments, I got him to download Viz Media’s free iPad app for reading manga. The original announcement came with a free download of the opening volume of the phenomenally successful Death Note series – in case you had any doubt, the graphics are eye-poppingly stunning. Available in English in 12 volumes, the series has also spawned a virtual enterprise of anime, live-action films, video games, and on and on … who knew death could be so addictive?

Here’s the premise: high schooler Light Yagami is pretty close to perfect (that in itself is fantasy, some parents might argue). He’s got perfect grades, is popular at school, and well-loved at home. With such a perfect life, he’s also getting rather bored.

When he finds a mysterious how-to-notebook-of-sorts, he’s not quite certain that the contents are real … until he follows the directions and realizes he can control death. Choosing a violent criminal as his initial test case, Light writes the criminal’s name while visualizing his face; eerily, the notebook claims its first victim. Enter Ryuk, visible only to Light as the Death Note’s new owner; Ryuk is the Death Note’s shinigami – a death god (the word shinigami is also a homonym for ‘death paper,’ or ‘death note’).

Being a genius, Light sees all sorts of endless possibilities, most obviously purging the world of evil. With Ryuk’s encouragement, Light gets to play god from a distance, without bloodshed (as long as that’s what he chooses). As he progressively wipes out who he deems good or evil, the police quickly take notice and the entire international community joins in on the hunt …

Created by the same dynamic duo whose latest series is Bakuman, Death Note is a chilling look at infinite power. The ultimate question is never far: what would YOU do?

For all the other volumes of Death Note (12 total) on BookDragon, click here.

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2005 (United States)
DESU NŌTO © Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
Original Japanese edition published by Shueisha Inc.

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